All Your Engagement Ring Questions Answered

This round diamond solitaire and diamond wedding band make the perfect pair

Whether you’re shopping for your engagement ring together or planning the proposal as a surprise, stepping into a jewelry store in search of the perfect forever ring will be one of your most memorable experiences. A diamond engagement ring represents the beginning of your shared life together, and it's easy to get swept away in all the excitement.

So, before you embark on your jewelry store whirlwind, our diamond engagement ring specialists would love to share their expertise to cut through some of the overwhelm that comes with engagement ring shopping. They’ll answer your questions and guide you through the process to help you select the ring that was meant to be.

How Did Engagement Ring Traditions Begin?

The Studio Collection Princess Cut Diamond Halo and Diamond Shank Engagement Ring

Some experts believe the ancient Egyptians started the tradition of the engagement ring. Egyptians placed value in the circle as a symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end.

Yet other experts share the theory that the engagement ring may have originally been started in ancient Rome. Their first betrothal rings were typically made of ivory, copper, bone, flint, or iron. They represented an agreement to enter a business contract and were often gifted to the woman's father as a sign of taking ownership. In addition, the rings represented a pledge of obedience and possession.

What was the First Official Engagement Ring Made of?

Engagement rings were given official meaning in 850. A declaration by Pope Nicholas I deemed that an engagement ring should be a gold ring because it was the most treasured metal. He deemed the ring should represent a man’s intent to marry a woman and his financial sacrifice. 

When Was the First Diamond Ring Introduced?

Fink's Exclusive Solitaire Pear Five Prong Engagement Ring

When the Archduke Maximillian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477, her engagement ring was adorned with diamonds. It was the first of its kind and rumored to have slender diamonds mounted on the band that formed the letter M.

When Did Diamond Engagement Rings Become a Trend?

It wasn’t until the 1930s that diamonds were seen more in engagement rings. By 1940, jewelry stores saw record sales of diamonds, earmarking the official beginning of the engagement ring tradition as we know it today. Diamond engagement rings were deemed stylish and in high demand. Even men were choosing to wear diamond wedding rings.  

During this period, diamond ring sales climbed over 60%, while engagement and wedding rings became the number one piece of jewelry sold throughout department stores. 

Today’s Engagement Ring Traditions

Trellis Cushion Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Today we often see engagement rings designed with an array of rich colored gemstones in bold, unique settings. There are no longer rules when it comes to engagement ring traditions. Celebrities can be seen with a stunning emerald engagement ring or with their ring fingers dripping in canary yellow or pink diamonds, and suddenly it’s the latest trend.

Even more noteworthy may be the engagement ring traditions for men. The man-gagement ring graces the ring finger of roughly five percent of husbands-to-be and climbing. With the growing popularity of men’s jewelry and accessories, men choose to wear an engagement ring alongside their fiancé in style.

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring?

A diamond engagement ring is quite an investment, and it’s wise to view it as one. We are certainly not strangers to the many brides-to-be who fall in love with a ring at first glance through our jewelry store window. However, we encourage a little planning and education before your significant purchase. The more informed you are about selecting a diamond, your setting, and various options, the more likely you are to get the most value for your investment and leave the jewelry store without a doubt in your mind.

Before purchasing your diamond engagement ring, you should familiarize yourself with some information, including:

  • the 4Cs of a diamond
  • precious metal options
  • setting options

The 4Cs of a Diamond: Why Do They Matter?

Engagement ring styles and stunning diamond shapes certainly catch the eye, but the 4Cs of a diamond combine to determine the stone’s overall value and quality. 

Woman Admires New Engagement Ring on Beach

This worldwide grading standard ensures diamond shoppers can walk into any jewelry store and know exactly what they are buying. The 4Cs of a diamond provide grading reliability and consistency throughout the diamond industry. In addition, it provides a concrete method of evaluating and grading each stone’s quality according to strict standards.

Each diamond’s rigorous evaluation and grading looks at the 4Cs, which include:

  1. Carat weight
  2. Color
  3. Clarity
  4. Cut

What is a Diamond’s Carat Weight?

Contrary to what many believe, the carat weight of a diamond does not refer to its size. So before you head to the jewelry store in search of your forever ring, let us help you understand carat weight vs. size.

The carat weight will tell you how much a diamond weighs, while the diamond’s size, or appearance, has more to do with its cut. One metric carat can be defined as 200 milligrams. Then, each carat is subdivided into 100 points, allowing jewelers to measure each stone precisely, right down to the hundredth decimal. As a stone's carat weight increases, the price will also increase.  

How Do You Decide on a Carat Weight for Your Diamond Engagement Ring? 
Platinum Princess Cut Diamond Three Stone Engagement Ring

Deciding on your center stone’s carat weight may depend on a few deciding factors. Your budget may be the most important deciding factor. Some engagement ring settings will only accommodate stones of a particular carat weight. Lastly, your fiancé’s hand and finger size may be a deciding factor, as the look of a diamond’s size varies from smaller hands to longer, fuller fingers. We encourage you to spend time at the jewelry store trying on several styles with various carat weights to get a sense of what appeals to you.

What is Diamond Color?

A diamond’s color actually refers to its lack of color. The slightest color variation between diamonds can significantly impact their quality and price. However, slight color variations typically go unnoticed by the naked eye. For this reason, we encourage you to visit the jewelry store when possible and ask the jeweler to view the diamonds you are considering for your engagement ring.

Don't worry; it's not uncommon to view stones under a microscope, and any reputable jewelry store will encourage you to do so. As you try various engagement rings, keep in mind that loose diamonds are the most ideal for examining. This is because the color can sometimes be skewed by the engagement ring setting’s reflections or from the diamond’s position within the ring.

How Can You Examine Diamond Color in a Jewelry Store?
Sabel Collection 14K White Gold Infinity Knot Diamond Ring

If you can view the diamonds in person, our engagement ring experts have a few helpful tips for you to utilize while examining the stones. While some factors can affect the diamond’s color, we suggest you:

  • First, examine the diamonds on the same background color.
  • Always examine the diamonds under the same lighting to make the most accurate comparisons.
  • Finally, remember that diamond cut and clarity can affect the color when viewed with the naked eye.

What is Diamond Clarity?

You will find inclusions, or tiny imperfections, in virtually all diamonds. Some may even have subtle imperfections on their surface. This is because, during their formation, diamonds endure intense heat and pressure, sometimes causing these imperfections.

The GIA Clarity Scale was designed to grade and categorize stones according to their imperfections. Diamond clarity evaluates the size, locations, and the number of imperfections seen within the diamond while examined under 10x magnification. Clarity views these imperfections as identifying marks. Imperfection markers may include:

  • Large feather
  • Reflectors
  • Large inclusions
  • Knots

The Clarity Scale provides a precise method for assigning a diamond 1 of 6 clarity categories, which include:

  • Flawless
  • Internally flawless
  • Very very slightly included
  • Very slightly included
  • Slightly included
  • Included

What is Diamond Cut?

The Studio Collection Emerald Center Diamond and Halo Engagement Ring

The cut of a diamond grades its symmetry, dimensions, and light reflection. It's critical to determine how a stone will perform. A diamond’s cut influences its brightness, fire, and scintillation. Ideal proportions help classify a diamond’s cut into five grading categories. This universal 5-category diamond cut grading system includes:

  1. Excellent
  2. Very good
  3. Good
  4. Fair
  5. Poor

What is Diamond Shape?

The shape of the center stone is often the main attraction of a woman’s engagement ring. The shape of a diamond refers to the outline of the stone. You may often hear diamond shape and diamond cut used interchangeably, and the word “cut” can be misleading.

What Are the Most Popular Diamond Shapes?

If you’re having difficulty deciding on a diamond shape or are not sure what your fiancé-to-be prefers, we invite you to visit one of our Fink’s jewelry stores. Our diamond engagement ring experts have exceptional taste and are happy to show you the most popular diamond shapes. The most sought-after diamond shapes include:

  • Round brilliant cut
  • Princess cut
  • Pear-shaped diamond
  • Oval cut
The Round Brilliant Cut
Fink's Exclusive Yellow Gold and Platinum Round Diamond Engagement Ring

The brilliant round cut is a timeless classic. In fact, more than two-thirds of diamond engagement rings boast a dazzling, brilliant center stone. The round shape of the diamond is known for projecting optimum light reflection, as the diamond cut is essential in its performance. 

The Princess Cut

The modern look of the princess-cut diamond makes this square-shaped stone another favorite. The cut of the stone’s table, or surface, can enhance the appearance of the diamond’s size. This factor makes the princess-shaped stone desirable while providing brilliance to any engagement ring. 

The Pear-Shaped Diamond

Unique is always in, and that's precisely what the pear-shaped diamond is. The beautiful shape adds character to any diamond engagement ring. While a well-cut pear-shaped diamond can be more challenging to find, they are well worth the effort, as they can hide inclusions, unlike any other diamond shape.  

The Oval Cut

Oval-shaped center stones are very popular with active women on the go or those who frequently work with their hands. The lack of pointed edges makes an oval engagement ring center stone more durable. Oval-shaped diamonds also perform well in light at an affordable price point.

How Do You Select the Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring Style?

Woman Shows Surprise After Proposal

Finding your ideal engagement ring style may involve a variety of factors. You’ll want to consider the precious metal you prefer for your engagement ring, as well as the ring’s setting. We encourage you to stop by our jewelry store to try on an array of styles. Your favorite diamond engagement ring styles may not be what you envisioned after all. 

What Are the Best Precious Metals for Engagement Rings?

A diamond is stunning set in any precious metal, but it ultimately comes down to preference. Most engagement rings are designed in platinum, yellow, white, or rose gold, while two-toned metal rings are also quite popular.

Selecting the best precious metal for your engagement ring may entail matching it with jewelry in your current collection. If you’re drawn to white gold diamond stud earrings and have an array of white gold necklaces and bracelets to match, it’s only natural to gravitate towards a white gold engagement ring.

For ladies who aren’t typically jewelry wearers, the selection of precious metal may determine which metal complements your skin tone. You can also consider which metal pairs best with the colors in your wardrobe.

Benefits of Selecting Platinum Ring

Platinum Oval Sapphire and Emerald Diamond Ring

There are also a few specific reasons you may wish to choose platinum for your engagement ring metal. For those who experience metal allergies, platinum is often the safest precious metal to wear. It also provides the most durability and is ideal for women who work with their hands or are very active outdoors and prone to dings, scratches, and bending.

What Are the Most Popular Engagement Ring Settings?

Walk into any jewelry store, and you'll find an array of gorgeous diamond engagement ring styles to choose from. While it is exciting to walk into a jewelry store filled with so many options, we know it can also be overwhelming. Our engagement ring experts have compiled a list of some of the most popular engagement ring settings to help you navigate the styles.

  • Solitaire
  • 3-Stone
  • Infinity
  • Halo

Solitaire Ring Setting

The solitaire diamond engagement ring style is a timeless look that is incredible on any finger. The classic solitaire setting displays a single center stone for maximum exposure. The solitaire engagement ring is also popular because it provides endless pairing possibilities for your wedding band. 

3-Stone Ring Setting

Platinum Round Three Stone Engagement Ring

For the bride-to-be who is searching for a diamond engagement ring setting with meaning, the three-stone ring style was made for you. This stunning style is also known as the trinity ring. The setting boasts three diamonds representing your relationship’s past, present, and future. 

Infinity Ring Setting

Infinity engagement ring settings also offer a symbolic statement, yet in a more contemporary style. You’ll love the intertwined precious metal, which symbolizes the joining of two lives as one. Infinity diamond engagement rings signify your relationship’s strength and commitment and are ideal for the sentimental couple. 

Halo Ring Setting

The gorgeous halo engagement ring setting is best known for its dazzling accent diamonds, which surround the center stone. This beautiful layout creates a halo effect, offering optimal brilliance. The halo style is favored by many for its ability to make the center stone appear more significant than its carat weight. From selecting the perfect halo diamond stud earrings to a halo necklace ideal for any neckline, you’ll have an array of pairing options to add to your collection over the years.   

What’s the Difference Between a Wedding Ring and an Engagement Ring?

Traditionally, the engagement ring has been presented during a marriage proposal. The ring symbolizes the beginning of a couple’s engagement period. The engagement ring is typically more extravagant than the wedding ring style, although this isn’t always the case.

The wedding ring is the jewelry band the couple exchanges during their ceremonial vows. It is worn paired with the engagement ring, completing the set as wedding rings. Depending on the style of your favorite wedding rings, they are typically less expensive than an engagement ring.   

How Do You Wear a Wedding Ring?

White Gold Milgrain Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Traditionally, the wedding ring is placed on the left ring finger before the engagement ring so that it is closer to the heart. However, whether you prefer the look of a solid precious metal band or a diamond-accented wedding ring, there are limitless possibilities as you create the look of your wedding ring combination.

A more recent trend for wedding rings adds fashion and flair to the hand. Wedding rings are often seen stacked together or worn with one placed on each side of her diamond engagement ring for optimal appeal.

When Should You Buy Your Wedding Rings?

Ask any jewelry store engagement specialist, and we'll all give you the same advice. Don't put off the purchase of your wedding rings! While your length of engagement is certainly a factor to consider, we always recommend purchasing your wedding rings at least two months before your wedding day. This window of time gives you plenty of room should any obstacles arise.

Early wedding ring shopping can help alleviate stress if you run into issues or requirements, including:

  • re-sizing of wedding rings is necessary
  • time for engraving
  • difficulty finding the wedding ring style you desire
  • decide to have custom wedding rings made
  • difficulty finding a wedding ring that aligns well with your engagement ring

What Should You Consider When Purchasing Your Wedding Rings?

Woman Trying on Wedding Ring

Select a wedding ring that offers a comfortable fit and practical design. You'll wear your wedding ring daily and want to ensure it suits your lifestyle and daily activities. For example, an oval shape may be more practical than a teardrop engagement ring for active hands.

Try on various wedding rings with your diamond engagement ring while you’re at the jewelry store. You’ll want to see how they feel when worn together. Do they restrict movement or pinch your finger?

The wedding ring you fell in love with from the jewelry store window may not look as stunning when you slip it onto your finger. Ensure your engagement and wedding rings are what you envisioned when paired together. Do they complement each other? Does your center stone sit high enough to avoid unnecessary wear and tear against your wedding ring? 

Consider the Wedding Ring’s Durability

We suggest considering your lifestyle and daily activities as you shop for your wedding ring. A busy or active lifestyle could lead to accidental bumps, dings, scratches, and wear. For some, this may mean selecting a solid metal band is a wiser choice than an eternity band wrapped in diamonds. Or an avid rock climber may want to consider platinum or titanium wedding rings rather than a pave band to avoid loose or chipped stones.

The durability of your wedding ring can be determined by several factors, including the precious metal you choose, the lack of gemstones, and the width of your band. Choosing a durable ring to suit your needs will help ensure its value and longevity.

What are the Popular Wedding Ring Styles?

If you're unsure which wedding ring styles you prefer, we’re always happy to share our favorites. In case you don’t live near a Fink’s jewelry store, we’ve compiled a list for you below.

  • Classic
  • Eternity
  • Multi-Stone
  • Sets

The Classic Solid Metal Wedding Ring

Couple Puts on Wedding Rings

The simplicity of a solid precious metal wedding ring will never go out of style. It’s a timeless classic that pairs well with any style engagement ring. Select his and hers matching wedding rings or one with intricately engraved details.

The Eternity Wedding Ring

The diamond eternity wedding ring style comes in your choice of a full or half setting. You’ll find eternity bands with diamonds filling half the band, while full eternity bands have diamonds that adorn the entire ring. You may also want to consider an eternity wedding ring accented with gemstones.

The Multi-Stone Wedding Ring

Multi-stone wedding rings can add beauty and sentimental value. Select the number of stones to adorn your ring to represent the number of years you’ve shared together. You may also consider the popular three-stone ring, which symbolizes your past, present, and future. 

Engagement and Wedding Ring Sets

Jewelry stores also carry a large selection of engagement and wedding ring sets designed explicitly as a pair to complement each other. Many are even created in a way that perfectly interlocks the two once joined. 

How Much Should You Plan to Spend on Your Rings?

Couple Shopping for Rings at Jewelry Store

While the average amount couples recently spent on a diamond engagement ring was just under $4,000, it was still considerably less than the nearly $8,000 average we saw several years ago. So while you will always have a couple who spend more or less than the average, the amount you spend on your engagement ring should come down to your budget.

Determine Your Diamond Engagement Ring Budget

Following the old “rule” of spending three months’ worth of salary just isn’t practical for every couple. Before you walk into a jewelry store and fall in love with every gorgeous stone they have, it’s wise to determine what you can comfortably afford.

Set your priorities and create a budget that fits those needs. Is your money better spent on the wedding? A down payment on a house? Or do you have the funds available to splurge on the ring of your dreams? Knowing before your trip to the jewelry store will help you stay focused and comfortable with your decision without buyer’s remorse setting in.

Prioritize the 4Cs to Get the Diamond You Want

If you find yourself in love with a ring or style that’s just beyond your budget, there are a few options to consider. First, prioritize all your options, including the metal, setting, accent stones within the setting, and center stone itself.

Prioritizing the 4Cs can help you purchase the diamond you want. You can sacrifice a bit on a stone’s color and clarity without drastically sacrificing its quality. You may not want to select a diamond with inclusions visible to the naked eye, but clarity alone will not affect your stone’s brilliance. Lowering your grading standards slightly in these two areas allows you to spend more on carat weight and cut quality. 

Why Consider Gemstone Engagement Rings?

White Gold Oval Emerald and Diamond Ring

An oval emerald engagement ring isn’t as non-traditional as it used to be. Gemstones come in an array of gorgeous colors and hold a wealth of meaning and symbolism. A gorgeous sapphire or stunning emerald makes beautiful center stones or accent stones for engagement rings and wedding rings. While they will make your engagement ring more unique, they can also be more affordable.

Questions to Ask While Shopping for Your Engagement Ring

When you visit a Fink’s jewelry store, we encourage you to ask questions and explore our selection. If you’re still shopping around, we encourage you to have a list of questions prepared before heading out. In all the excitement and awe, we want to ensure you're still focused on finding the perfect diamond engagement ring for the best value.

Here are the most commonly asked questions and best tips from our diamond engagement ring specialists:

Do you offer engagement ring repair services?

Finding your ideal ring should always include peace of mind for your investment. A reputable, high-quality engagement ring jewelry store should offer repair and preventative service options for your diamond purchase.

As you search for your ring, ask questions about their diamond repair services, including:

  • Are your jewelers and technicians highly qualified or certified in diamond ring repairs?
  • Do you offer on-site ring repairs?
  • What is your turnaround time for repairs in the jewelry store or off-site?

Are your jewelers and technicians Bench Certified?

Close up of Jeweler Working on an Engagement Ring

We understand how hard it can be to hand over your diamond rings for repairs. We highly recommend you ask your jewelry store about their certifications for your peace of mind.

National standards help customers feel confident and secure when leaving their fine jewelry for repairs. Bench Professional Certification Programs nationally recognize highly skilled, trustworthy jewelers who should be more than happy to show their qualifications.

Does your jewelry store offer diamond upgrades and a lifetime warranty?

While we know how exciting this time is, it’s always wise to plan ahead and protect your investment. It’s imperative to leave the jewelry store feeling confident about your jewelry investment and know you have protection and options for years to come. 

We suggest asking your jeweler about:

  • diamond upgrading program and policies
  • return or exchange policies
  • diamond purchase with a lifetime guarantee
  • replacement policy

Are your diamonds enhanced or treated?

Some jewelry stores may treat a diamond’s inclusions and blemishes. Treatment can increase a stone’s quality ratings as it enhances or corrects the clarity of the diamond. It’s a process that must be done through the professional use of advanced technology equipment.

Do you offer custom engagement rings?

A custom engagement ring is an excellent option if you can't find your dream ring, wish to incorporate a family heirloom, or simply want to design a unique ring. Inquire about custom services, ensuring the jeweler is experienced and certified. Ask if the design team will work with you and give you creative freedom during the process.

As you embark on your search for the ideal engagement ring, we hope you feel more confident about making your selection. If you’re new a Fink’s Jewelers, we invite you to come in and experience the quality of a Fink’s diamond.